Indigenous Relations

  • Partnerships with Indigenous peoples are critical to conduct operations, enhance security, and improve our infrastructure and capabilities in the North and across Canada.
  • For example, National Defence has partnered with Defence Construction Canada to develop a Joint Indigenous Procurement Strategy focused on Real Property, and we are developing an Indigenous Procurement Strategy and Policy Framework.
  • National Defence is also implementing a mandatory target to have at least five percent of the total value of contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses.
  • In addition, the Canadian Armed Forces offers five Indigenous Summer Training programs nation-wide, which combine military skills training and Indigenous cultural teachings.
  • The Canadian Rangers also play a critical role in supporting Indigenous communities, including throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as they have transported and distributed supplies, conducted wellness checks, and staffed emergency centres.
  • Additionally, the Junior Canadian Rangers Program routinely works with Indigenous communities to strengthen ties, partake in cultural experiences, and provide a structured program for youth.
  • Finally, we are making real efforts to increase Indigenous participation in the military through the Canadian Armed Forces Aboriginal Entry Program which provides three weeks of hands-on military training and lifestyle experiences.

Key Facts

Indigenous Representation:

  • Goal: 3.5% by 2026.
  • Current: 2.8% (as of February 4, 2022.)

Canadian Rangers:

  • Approximately 23% self-identify as Indigenous Peoples (as of February 4, 2022).
  • Canadian Rangers also provide immediate Ground Search and Rescue support, and delivered this service 34 times in 2021.

Joint Indigenous Procurement Strategy:

  • National Defence has provided 21 federal procurement opportunity outreach sessions to the Indigenous business community across Canada.
    • This is in line with the Government's mandate to target 5% of spending for contracts and materials to Indigenous businesses.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK):

  • National Defence is building a new relationship with Inuit through ITK, the national Inuit organization that advances that advances the rights and interests of Inuit in Canada.
  • Since October 2021, there have been several bilateral engagements from working to Ministerial level, and it is developing into an important and mutually beneficial partnership.

Inuit Nunangat Policy:

  • National Defence participated in the creation of the Inuit Nunangat Policy, which was co-developed with Inuit, and will direct federal departments and agencies to consider Inuit priorities, and engage early on projects, policies or initiatives that affect Inuit Nunangat.

Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships Affiliation Program:

  • All 6 Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships will be affiliated with all 4 regions of Inuit Nunangat, including:
    • Qikiqtani (Nunavut)
    • Kitikmeot (Nunavut)
    • Kivalliq (Nunavut)
    • Inuvialuit (Inuvialuit Settlement Region)
    • Nunavik
    • Nunatsiavut
  • These affiliations are a long-standing naval tradition and deeply valued by the sailors and the civilian communities.

Promoting Cultural Awareness within the Defence Team:

  • National Defence promotes training, education, and commemorative events to build cultural competence, ensure awareness of Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditions, and promote reconciliation.

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